Gym Hours


Climb Safe – Gym Use Harness Policy


If you’ve been climbing for a number of years, chances are good that you’ve gone through more than one climbing harness. Maybe you didn’t thrash your first one until it looked like rats had been chewing on it; maybe you just saw something shiny, with better features or a more comfortable fit than your first harness. It’s also possible that you showed up at the gym one day, one of our staff asked you how old your harness is, and then suggested it might be time to give it up.Our policy is that we recommend retirement of climbing harnesses with a use lifetime of more than 5 years, or more than 10 years from date of manufacture, whichever comes first. Generally, if we spot an older harness in the gym we will offer a free rental harness for the day, with a suggestion that the climber start shopping for a replacement. We do not permit harnesses that have passed these time periods to be used in the gym. We have had more than a couple of questions about this policy, so we’d like to set the record straight on how and why these rules came to be.Why 5 years?Based on max life spans recommended in the tech docs from various manufacturers and outdoor industry groups, ranging from 3 – 10 years. 10-year shelf life even for a very well-stored harness is also a widely accepted consensus in the recreational climbing industry.Why time instead of inspection?Simply put, we don’t know where your gear has been. Our insurance policy requires that rules are uniformly applied to all users, so we have to set the bar conservatively (i.e., based on the chuffer who’s keeping his harness next to a jug of bleach after taking several high-factor lead falls in it). Furthermore, testing of old harnesses has shown that some used gear that looks perfectly normal can still fail CE strength tests.You absolutely should inspect your gear frequently, and retire it if anything makes you doubt its integrity. We inspect our rental gear regularly, and it often does get retired well before the clock runs out on it.Are you going to confiscate my harness and chop the belay loop?ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s your gear. You can do whatever you want with it – just not in our gym. FYI, if you do plan to retire your harness, best practice is to chop the belay loop so that it can’t be used again if it’s “discovered” by someone who doesn’t know its history.This still seems nuts to me. Aren’t you just trying to sell more gear?Look, we know climbing gear is really strong. Even old, worn equipment has sometimes been known to pass pull tests well beyond what most climbers are probably going to subject it to in most circumstances. Harnesses, however, are always a single point of potential failure in your system because nothing is backing them up, so do you really want to take any chances? If we (and Black Diamond, Petzl, Arc’Teryx, CAMP, etc.) were really padding the standards to sell more gear, we think they’d probably pick a more expensive product or set a shorter timeline. Average cost of a harness is around $85. If you’re replacing every 5 years as we suggest, you’re only spending about $17 a year. We really don’t think that’s too much for some peace of mind.Citations, please!By all means. Here are a few links to where we got some of our background info, along with some good beta on how to inspect your own gear: BlogBlack Diamond QC LabsRock & Ice Pull-Tests Old HarnessesPetzl Equipment FAQ